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Archive for the ‘PubMed’ Category

Sara Tybaert Appointed as New Head of NLM’s MEDLARS Management Section!

Sara Tybaert begins her new position as Head of MEDLARS Management Section (MMS) in NLM’s Bibliographic Services Division (BSD) on October 6, 2013. Sara has been with MMS since 1990, filling many roles. Since 2011, Sara has been the Head of the Bibliographic Data Management Unit within MMS. In this position she has overseen the daily MEDLINE data verification process for the nightly exports of MEDLINE data to PubMed and to MEDLINE licensees. Her work includes oversight of the various systems used in the data quality control work performed within MMS. She also supports the ongoing development and testing of data input and maintenance systems for MEDLINE. And perhaps most importantly, Sara has been the project manager for the annual Year End Processing (YEP) efforts within BSD.

Sara has provided support and oversight for several key projects within MMS during her tenure at NLM. She serves as the MMS representative to the Shared Serials Group. Sara also currently serves as the MMS representative to the NLM COGNOS Team Leads group, and participates on the MEDLINE Processing Working Group and NLM DTD Group. She has participated on the MMS PubMed team with NCBI, including system testing and support for MEDLINE/PubMed customer service. In addition, she has often represented NLM at the NLM Exhibit Booth at the MLA annual meeting. Over the years, one of Sara’s greatest accomplishments was serving as the COR/COTR for the NLM Bioethics Contract with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Under her guidance, NLM was eventually able to reduce and eventually discontinue this contract, providing significant savings to NLM and Library Operations.

2014 Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Now Available

What do air travel, dandruff, patient harm, and social determinants of health have in common? They are all new 2014 MeSH descriptors!

The Introduction to MeSH 2014 is now available, including information on its use and structure, as well as recent updates and availability of data. MeSH vocabulary changes for 2014 lists include:

Additionally, the entire MeSH vocabulary is available to download in XML and ASCII format.

My NCBI Curriculum Vitae Web Application: SciENcv

SciENcv is a new feature in My NCBI that helps users create an online professional profile that can be made public to share with others. In SciENcv users can document their education, employment, research activities, publications, honors, research grants, and other professional contributions. In addition, the SciENcv profile may include an ORCID iD, when registered with ORCID. eRA Commons account holders who have linked their eRA account to My NCBI will find their SciENcv profile automatically populated with the information stored in their eRA Commons profile. The information transferred from eRA Commons to SciENcv profiles can be changed, hidden, augmented, or deleted.

The SciENcv Web application is the end product of a request made by the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) to reduce the administrative burden associated with federal grant submissions. It is being developed under the aegis of an interagency workgroup composed of members from the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, The Smithsonian, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

For additional information, please visit the My NCBI Help: SciENcv webpage or the NLM Technical Bulletin.

NTC Classes: PubMed for Trainers, TOXNET, and PubMed Update

On December 12, 2013, staff from the National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) and NLM will present NLM Express: A PubMed® Update for PSR Network members and others who register. Learn about recently added PubMed features and interface changes from the last six months, and bring your PubMed questions to this online webinar!

PubMed® for Trainers is coming to our region (San Francisco) in February, 2014. The hybrid sessions run from Thursday, February 6, 2014 – February 26, 2014. Three of the session are online, with the final one conducted in-person at the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management. Class participants are eligible for 15 MLA CE credits. The class is an in-depth look at PubMed and a chance to share training ideas with your fellow participants! This hands-on course consists of lectures, individual exercises, group work, and discussions, with approximately 2-3 hours of independent work to be done outside of class time. All sessions must be attended to receive credit. The in-person Session Four is in San Francisco on February 26, 2014, 9 am – 4:30 pm PT. Registration is now available!

TOXNET® and Beyond is designed to convey the basics of searching the NLM’s TOXNET®, a Web-based system of databases in the areas of toxicology, environmental health, and related fields. TOXNET® is a free class, offering 6.0 MLA continuing education credits. This daylong in-person course will be held Thursday, February 27, 2014, beginning at 9:00 AM PT in San Francisco at UCSF. Registration is now available!

For questions about the Pacific Southwest Region training program, please contact Kay Deeney, Educational Services Coordinator.

NLM Mourns F. W. “Wilf” Lancaster, Pioneer in Evaluation of Early MEDLARS Systems

F. W. “Wilf” Lancaster, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science and former NLM employee, passed away on Sunday, August 25, 2013, in Urbana, IL. Wilf’s contributions to the NLM in the early days of automated information retrieval have had a lasting impact on our information systems and services.  His work as a professor and mentor also benefited the Library, as he led many fine graduate students to pursue careers at the NLM. With his passing, NLM remembers a colleague and friend.

Wilf earned a reputation for greatness in the evaluation of information storage and retrieval systems, based in part on his early experience with a comprehensive evaluation of NLM’s MEDLARS (MEDical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System). The evaluation of the MEDLARS Demand Search Service in 1966 and 1967 was one of the earliest evaluations of a computer-based retrieval system and the first application of recall and precision measures in a large, operational database setting. The use of computers for bibliographic retrieval systems was in its infancy, and many of the extant systems were small or experimental. Planning for the evaluation began in December 1965, when Wilf joined the NLM staff as Information Systems Evaluator. Following completion of the MEDLARS evaluation, he developed NLM training programs in his roles as Deputy Chief of the Bibliographic Services Division and Special Assistant to the Associate Director for Library Operations.

In 1970-1971, Wilf conducted an evaluation of the MEDLARS AIM-TWX system, an innovative experimental service that was the precursor of MEDLINE/PubMed. This was an important study of early online systems and their direct use by end users. Written more than 40 years ago, his report reflects his signature forward-thinking attitude toward system design, as relevant today as then: “We should always look for ways of improving retrieval systems and making them more attractive to potential users. The philosophy that ‘the system is used, therefore it is good’ is a very shallow one. We must not assume that a system having appeal today will always retain this appeal….novelty wears off and system designers cannot afford to rest too long on their laurels. In the past, users have been required to adapt to the information system. In the future systems must be designed that adapt to the users.”

For further information on Wilf’s extraordinary accomplishments and influence, see the Festschrift published in his honor by Library Trends in 2008, “Essays Honoring the Legacy of F. W. Lancaster,” (Volume 56, Issue 4). One of the articles, entitled “Excellence in Evaluation: Early Landmarks at the National Library of Medicine,” focuses on his work at NLM and was used as the source for the above summary of contributions to NLM.  His obituary is also available online.

Grande Dame of Indexing at the National Library of Medicine, Thelma Charen, Dies at 96

Thelma Golden Charen, former indexer, trainer in the Index Section, and senior technical advisor in the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Section of the National Library of Medicine, died July 14, 2013, in Bethesda, MD, one day shy of her 97th birthday. Mrs. Charen first joined the Army Medical Library (precursor of the Armed Forces Medical Library and ultimately, the National Library of Medicine) in 1944 as a pre-cataloger in the Acquisitions Section. She had degrees in Greek and Latin; her natural facility with these languages led to her mastery of medical terminology and to positions as Indexer, training specialist for indexers and searchers, manual developer, and vocabulary specialist. She retired in 1997, ending a renowned 53-year career at NLM.

Mrs. Charen was notably awarded the Marcia C. Noyes Award, highest professional distinction offered by the Medical Library Association in 1985, as an acknowledgement of a career that resulted in lasting, outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship. At the awards ceremony, Lois Ann Colaianni, then NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, commented, “Her wit and spontaneity in the classroom are as legendary as her logic. She has trained an entire generation of medical indexers working at NLM and around the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of Index Medicus and the MEDLARS system is in great measure the result of Mrs. Charen’s high standards for the quality indexing of the biomedical literature.” At the same ceremony, current NLM Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys recalls that when Mrs. Colaianni asked all those present who had been taught online searching by Mrs. Charen to raise their hands, the vast majority of those in the room did so, including all members of the MLA Board. Mrs. Charen also received two awards given to staff: the NLM Director’s Award in 1983 and the Regents’ Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement in 1972 “for conceiving, developing and implementing the MEDLARS indexing manual and training program.” In addition to her considerable professional skills, she was known for a seemingly endless supply of dramatic eyeglass frames!

Amongst her other achievements, Mrs. Charen also:

  • Authored or co-authored numerous publications on indexing, training for indexers, and manuals used by librarians all over the world, including Structure and Use of Medical Subject Headings: Annotations and Medical Subject Headings; Tree Annotations. Mrs. Charen wrote every MeSH annotation for indexers and online searchers for over 20 years; and
  • Served on the three-person task force, along with James L. Wood of the Chemical Abstracts Service, and Harold Oatfield of Pfizer Medical Research Laboratories to revise the ANSI Z39.5 standard for journal title abbreviations, resulting in the 1969 publication of the American National Standard for the Abbreviation of Titles of Periodicals.

It is a mark of Mrs. Charen’s great love of NLM and its staff that during her lifetime she and her husband, Sol Charen, anonymously endowed NLM’s Frank Bradway Rogers Award. The award, given annually, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Library’s fundamental operational programs and services. Mrs. Charen’s career covered the time from when the Library began indexing articles for the print publication, Index Medicus, and through development of accessibility of journal citations in the online database MEDLINE/PubMed. Today, over 750,000 citations are indexed annually for MEDLINE/PubMed from over 5,600 biomedical journals. MEDLINE contains over 20,000,000 citations to the biomedical literature. Where indexing the literature was once a process entirely handled manually, today 93% of citations are submitted electronically in XML format by publishers, enabling NLM to concentrate on quality control and indexing rather than original creation of the bibliographic citation, and 74% of MEDLINE journals are indexed from the online version, which accounts for 88% of all new citations being processed. The Index Section now also uses in production the Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a software indexing assistant tool that is optimized to suggest precise MeSH headings from analyzing the article title and abstract for the indexer to consider.

MLA 2013: Offline with NLM “Sunrise Seminar”

The Offline with NLM “Sunrise Seminar” was held at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Boston, MA, on May 6, 2013. The session was chaired by David Gillikin, Bibliographic Services Division. The meeting brought attendees up-to-date on some of the Library online systems as well as future plans.

Links to the following PowerPoint presentations are included in the NLM Technical Bulletin:

  • PubMed Tips and Tricks – Margaret McGhee, MEDLARS Management Section, Bibliographic Services Division
  • NLM Specialized Information Service Update – Janice Kelly, Division of Specialized Information Services
  • NLM Digital Programs – Loren Frant, Public Services Division
  • NLM’s Plan to Expand Collection Space – Martha Fishel, Public Services Division

Questions from the audience were taken at the end of the session. The questions and answers have been reprinted in the same article.

NLM Theater Presentations at MLA 2013

The NLM exhibit booth at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Boston featured theater presentations to bring users up-to-date on several NLM products and services. The presentation recordings are captioned and accessible from the NLM Distance Education Program Resources page. The presentations include:

Note: To listen to the voice recordings and view the captions you may need the latest version of Flash® Player (download for free from the Adobe Web site). To zoom in to detailed screens, use the scroll button. For more information, go to the NLM Technical Bulletin page.

NLM Releases Extensible Markup Language (XML) for IndexCat™ Data

The National Library of Medicine has announced that Extensible Markup Language (XML) data from the IndexCat™ database is now available for free download. Released with a Document Type Definition (DTD) that allows researchers to validate the data, this new XML release includes the digitized content of more than 3.7 million bibliographic items from the printed, 61-volume Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, originally published from 1880 to 1961. The XML describes items spanning five centuries, including millions of journal and newspaper articles, obituaries, and letters; hundreds of thousands of monographs and dissertations; and thousands of portraits. Together, these items cover a wide range of subjects such as the basic sciences, scientific research, civilian and military medicine, public health, and hospital administration.

The NLM release of the Index-Catalogue in XML format opens this key resource in the history of medicine and science to new uses and users. It is one of the monuments of the Library’s longstanding, systematic indexing of the medical literature, an effort which William Henry Welch (1850-1934), the great pathologist and bibliophile, considered to be “America’s greatest contribution to medical knowledge.” This indexing, begun by John Shaw Billings in the nineteenth century at the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, United States Army (known today as the NLM), eventually created two distinct products: the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, United States Army, and the Index Medicus, forerunner of MEDLINE®, and now the largest component of PubMed

Released alongside the IndexCatalogue XML are an integrated XML file and associated DTD for two collections developed from the electronic database of A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin (rev.), by Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre (eTK), and the updated and expanded version of Scientific and Medical Writings in Old and Middle English: An Electronic Reference (eVK2), edited by Linda Ehrsam Voigts and Patricia Deery Kurtz. Also available via the online IndexCat, these resources encompass over 42,000 records of incipits, or the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book, covering various medical and scientific writings on topics as diverse as astronomy, astrology, geometry, agriculture, household skills, book production, occult science, natural science, and mathematics, as these disciplines and others were largely intermingled in the medieval period of European history. The NLM release of these resources in XML format joins many other freely downloadable resources, including the XML for MEDLINE®/PubMed® data, which includes over 22 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946, and, for some journals, much earlier.

The release also coincides with the NLM’s participation in “Shared Horizons: Data, Biomedicine, and the Digital Humanities,” an interdisciplinary symposium exploring the intersection of digital humanities and biomedicine, being held April 10-12, 2013, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland, and Research Councils UK. Shared Horizons will create opportunities for disciplinary cross-fertilization through a mix of formal and informal presentations, combined with breakout sessions designed to promote a rich exchange of ideas about how large-scale quantitative methods can lead to new understandings of human culture. Bringing together researchers from the digital humanities and bioinformatics communities, the symposium will explore ways in which these two communities might fruitfully collaborate on projects that bridge the humanities and medicine around the topics of sequence alignment and network analysis, two modes of analysis that intersect with “big data.” All Shared Horizons sessions will be live-streamed with a monitored back channel for the public to post/tweet comments. Recordings of all talks will also be posted to the Shared Horizons website, with the ability to comment pre- and post-event.

Publisher Supplied Author Keywords Now Displayed in PubMed!

PubMed now displays author keywords when supplied by publishers. NLM will not review author keywords for accuracy or add them to non-publisher supplied citations. Author keywords can be searched untagged or using the Other Term [OT] or Text Words [TW] tags. Author Keywords are available on the Abstract, MEDLINE, and XML displays. Author keywords are preceded by a KEYWORDS label and appear below the abstract text on the Abstract display:

Screen capture of Author Keywords on the Abstract Display

Author keywords also appear in the OT field of the MEDLINE display, and users of the XML display will see author keywords in the Keyword element of KeywordList.